Australia

Australia

“May every young scientist…not fail to keep his eyes open for the possibility that an irritating failure of his apparatus to give consistent results may once or twice in a lifetime conceal an important discovery.” Patrick Blackett 1955   My cousin Jacob met me at the airport Sydney. He greeted me with an Opal pass and we hopped on the double decker train to Museum Station. He had an air mattress in his apartment, which after 4 nights in the hostel, felt like living in a palace.  That first night we went to Quay Station and I got to see the Sydney Harbor with the iconic Opera House and Bridge as the sun set.  Being the mature person I am, I kept thinking about Finding Nemo. We took a boat under the city lights at night to Darling Harbour and walked through the city, stopping at a pub for beers and to watch Federer play in the Australian Open. Hard to believe I had spent 4 hours that morning in a jeep in the rainy cliffs of Skipper’s Canyon back in NZ.   The next morning, feeling rejuvenated and being me, I took off solo and explored the city. First, I took a bus to Bondi Beach and I spent some time walking along the water and enjoying the sun.  Then I walked the cliffs nearby which are spectacular. Next up I walked through Hyde Park, the Art Museum, the Royal Botanic Gardens, and the Opera House.  Even if I had done nothing else, just to witness the works of Rodin, Monet, Van Gogh, and Picasso makes it a...
Exploring Queenstown and Milford Sound

Exploring Queenstown and Milford Sound

“Keep close to Nature’s heart… and break clear away, once in awhile, and climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods. Wash your spirit clean.”   -John Muir   Queenstown, located in Otago in the south-west part of the South Island, is only the 27th largest urban area in the country but one of the most well known.  First and foremost, it is in an unbelievable beautiful geographic area.  It is also the “Adventure Capital of the World”. Its where bungy jumping was invented by AJ Hackett. Also a big site for skydiving. And skiing in the winter.  For me, it was a place to hike and see the beautiful scenery.  Also I got to see a few more Lord of the Rings filming locations.   I stayed at a backpackers hostel for my 4 nights in Queenstown. I met lots of young travelers from all over the world.  Isabel and Philips in particular were two of my roommates and we hung out a lot, cooked meals, and explored the town together. Unfortunately it was unseasonably cold and rainy every day except for one. That didn’t keep us from having a terrific time. A few things I leared about staying in a backpackers hostel: -Its best to have a camping backpack.  If you bring a rolling bag like I did, you’ll feel kind of lame. -Learn from those who are younger than you.  As we get older, we get smarter about certain things but we also forget a lot. -You will be put in your place in a good way.  A lot of folks back home thought...
Wellington and the Marlborough Sounds

Wellington and the Marlborough Sounds

“Still round the corner there may wait A new road or a secret gate And though I oft have passed them by A day will come at last when I Shall take the hidden paths that run West of the Moon, East of the Sun.”   J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King   This blog entry and that one which will follow documents a bit of saved vacation time I used to travel between working at eye clinics in Rotorua, New Zealand and Honiara, Solomon Islands.  Though it was vacation, I certainly pushed myself and learned a lot. I hope some of these things I learned might be educational or enriching to the reader in some way.   But first, something about my last post.  I referred to the Solomon Islands as a “third world country” and was kindly notified by a friend of mine that this terminology is outdated and can be offensive.  She provided an NPR Article entitled: “If You Shouldn’t Call It The Third World, What Should You Call It?”.  I was grateful for being informed of this.  I felt a little dumb at first, but really was grateful for being enlightened on this topic.  The truth is that the term is an outdated relic of the 20th century.  Even “developing country” isn’t an accurate term because some lower income countries are more developed in certain aspects than certain countries which are considered advanced.   The truth is different populations exist within single countries, and perhaps countries shouldn’t be classified as a whole in this respect.  I’ve often use the term “underserved communities” to describe gaps...
Rotorua

Rotorua

Whāia te iti kahurangi ki te tūohu koe me he maunga teitei. “Aim for the highest cloud so that if you miss it, you will hit a lofty mountain.” Maori Proverb From this point on, all posts were drafted either later in the trip or once I returned home. For a great portion of the trip I couldn’t really bring myself to type for fear of missing out (FOMO I believe its called).  This paragraph was written while flying from Queenstown to Sydney on January 22nd while listening to Migrations, the new album by Bonobo.  One of my favorite electronic music artists, and I marked my calendar and purchased it the day it came out. The other soundtrack to my trip thus far is the Moana soundtrack.  I saw the film before the trip and absolutely loved it.  I can relate to the struggle of finding balance between your place at home and the internal voice that calls you to sea, to discover new places. The film also features quite a bit of Polynesian/Maori mythology and culture. So picture me dressed up to see patients, walking 15 minutes to eye clinic in Rotorua listening to Moana.  I found a little shortcut that crossed over a very beautiful section of Fairy Springs. Three ophthalmologists and a rotating registrar (resident) work at the Rotorua Eye Clinic along with a wonderful staff of secretaries and nurses.  I spent the majority of time working with the registrar, TK.  Like in Kenya, students start medical school directly after high school rather than completing an undergraduate degree. However, medical school is 6 years vs 4...
On the road with Rodger

On the road with Rodger

“It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to.” – J.R.R. Tolkien   January 6th 2017 Currently January 15th, and I’m sipping coffee lovely café in Rotorua waiting while a warm gentle rain falls outside.  I’m behind because I’ve been going nonstop…and since my flight to Wellington doesn’t leave for 6 hours, I finally have some time to type. We last left off after Ruth and Raoul showed me the city of Auckland in one day.  I woke up in their apartment reflecting on how our perception of life changes when with aging.  At their retirement village, nearly everyone volunteers on a committee, from managing the newsletter to resolving tech issues, both of which are a few of the tasks Raoul has undertaken.  He laughs as he says he looks forward to retiring from retirement.  Work gives a sense of purpose, and when you’re helping others – a sense of fulfillment.  He is also a very good artist, especially with portraits.  The eyes of his paintings tell a profound story, something I imagine he is keen at after a life of work in social services. Would you believe that morning I was handed off to another family? My third in just as many days – I had officially become a rugby ball.  But there are no complaints from me.  Next up is Rodger.  He is perhaps among the most enjoyable people I’ve met.  He has a sharp and witty sense of humor, and is very smart and...